University of Maryland Center for Environmental ScienceHorn Point Oyster Hatchery

The 2018 internship positions have been filled.
Please check back for the opportunity to apply for the 2019 season.

2018 Aquaculture Internship Opportunity

Interns will work alongside staff to learn skills necessary to work on an oyster farm.
Where: University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Laboratory Oyster Hatchery located in Cambridge on Maryland’s eastern shore.

     The oyster culture program at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Horn Point Laboratory is accepting applications for a summer internship. The oyster hatchery, one of the largest on the East Coast, produces oyster larvae, spat on shell and cultchless seed. The facility includes large larval tanks, a greenhouse for algal production, over fifty outdoor setting tanks, and a demonstration oyster farm.
Oyster aquaculture in Maryland is a burgeoning industry, with opportunities for innovative ideas and strong work ethics to make a meaningful difference. Since revision of lease laws in Maryland in 2009, the state has seen a strong increase in interest in aquaculture. With this increased interest has come increased demand for a work force who is trained in the unique job-skills required of an oyster aquaculturist.
The Aquaculture Internship was founded in 2015 with the goal of preparing individuals for future employment on a working oyster farm. To this end, aquaculture interns will learn to set larvae, both on shell for bottom harvest, and on microcultch, to produce individual oysters for containerized water column production. Aquaculture interns will work alongside the Seed Sales Manager to set larvae and monitor efficiency and health of young seed. Interns will learn to operate downweller, upweller and nursery systems and to undertake basic troubleshooting techniques. Responsibilities may also include production of custom spawns destined for the commercial market.
A demonstration oyster farm has been constructed on site, with a range of gear types employed for the water-column culture of cultchless oysters. Aquaculture interns will work alongside the Demonstration Farm Manager to ensure efficient operation of this farm. This includes learning the differences between the gear types, learning to operate each type, learning data collection techniques for oysters, assessing mortality, and grading by size.
In addition to operation of the demonstration oyster farm on site, aquaculture interns will learn the skills required of an oyster aquaculturist through working with a commercial oyster farm located on Hooper’s Island, MD. Aquaculture interns will be expected to periodically join their staff to complete the day’s tasks. Tasks may include setting larvae, operating nursery systems, boat work to operate grow-out systems, grading, and packing market oysters for sale. Interns will work as a part of the team and learn the skills required of a commercial scale operation.
The ideal candidate would start in March but applications will be accepted from those who can work beginning in June 2018 and end no later than mid October 2018. An ideal candidate will be able to work for a minimum of 10 weeks. Applicants must be able to lift at least 50 pounds and be committed to working in a wet, muddy, and humid environment requiring long hours on your feet in the water, rain or shine. While this is not a traditional laboratory environment, you may learn several laboratory skills and should be prepared with appropriate clothing and footwear.
Applicants must be 18 years of age or older by the time of their start date. Candidates should have an interest in a future career in oyster aquaculture. Stipend is $400 per week. Limited dormitory space may be available. Commuters must have reliable transportation. Long hours and weekend work are expected.

Additional Rotations

In addition to their focus on aquaculture, interns will rotate through various aspects of the oyster hatchery and should be capable of working independently after training.
Broodstock Management
Collecting, maintaining, and cleaning broodstock oysters
Learning the conditioning process
Processing oysters for assessment
Determining sex ratio
Fertilizing eggs
Learning microscope techniques
Larval Rearing
Cleaning larval rearing tanks
Sorting larvae and assessing maturity
Performing larval counts
Algae Production
Maintaining carboy cultures
Cleaning and inoculating tanks
Operating various equipment
Setting & Planting
Collecting samples and processing data
Introducing larvae to setting tanks
Accurately determining spat on shell numbers
Accompanying Oyster Recovery Partnership on a deployment
Remote setting
Applying skills on a working oyster farm
Basic laboratory skills
Answering phone calls in a professional manner
Assisting with large hands-on experiences for tour groups
Learning basic operation of a Coulter counter



Application Submission Instructions and Deadline

If you have any questions about this opportunity please contact us. If you would like to attend one of our prospective intern tours, please contact Stephanie Alexander at or (410)221-8310 or Julie Trommatter at or (410)221-8370.
Completed application materials should be emailed to Stephanie Alexander at While electronic submissions are preferred, you may also download the application from our website and submit it via mail to UMCES Horn Point Oyster Hatchery Intern Program, P.O. Box 775, Cambridge, MD 21613, or fax materials to (410) 221-8456 “ATTN: Stephanie Alexander.”
To request a paper copy, call Stephanie Alexander at 410-221-8310.
If you have any questions, or if you need assistance in filling out this application, please contact Stephanie Alexander at or 410-221-8310.

Applicants must submit the following:
1. Application Form
2. An unofficial copy of your most recent school transcript that lists all courses you have taken to-date and the grades you have received. Both unofficial and official copies are accepted.
3. A minimum of two (2) letters of recommendation from an individual capable of commenting on your academic qualifications and work ethic.
4. A resume describing any relevant jobs, internships, volunteer work, scholarships and/or other activities that you have held or participated in and other skills or accomplishments that you wish to identify.

It is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure that all materials have arrived on or before the deadline.
All materials, including application, transcripts, letters of recommendation, and resume, are expected to be complete and submitted by February 15, 2018 11:59:59 PM. We strongly encourage applicants to visit our facility prior to the deadline date.